Digitally recreating environments

Capturing 3D physical environments

To create 3D models, photogrammetry and laser scannning processing software is used.

Laser scanning


Terrestrial laser range data and colour is captured on site with colour being applied to the point clouds. The scans are registered and filters applies to remove unwanted points.

Terrestrial photogrammetry


Photogrammetry is used to fill in areas where there is no laser scan data and also to provide colour to the resulting 3D models. High resolution images of the rock shelter and paitings are captured.

Drone photogrammetry


Drone imagery is used photogrammetrically to reconstruct the landscape the site lies in as well as to provide colour for the 3D terrain models.

360 degree panoramas


Panoramas are captured at a variety of locations on site to provide backdrops for the 3D environments. Panoramas are captured terrestrially as well as by drone.

Natural elements

Unreal game engine is used to create the natural elements

Audio components

Microphones record sounds on site such as wind, birds, insects and waves crashing.


Types of weather are noted. The Cederberg receives winter rains in the form of cold fronts.


Lighting is recreated in Unreal by using different lighting sources such as sunlight, reflective light, and fire.

Time of day

The interactive environment is manipulated to show time of day. Specifically day and night.

Building the Portal

Once the 3D physical environment and natural elements have been created of a site they are ingested into the Rock Art Portal and form the platform onto which contextual data is added. There are many rock art sites that make up the portal and new sites are continuously added.

The contextual data comprises of archaeological evidence (such as artefacts), wildlife research, San history and folklore, and any other relevant information.

When a user enters the Portal they are presented with virtual site visits which are guided, narrated tours. Users are then able to interact with the contextual data in a fully immersive environment and are able to explore rock art in the Cederberg immersively from anywhere in the world.